Updated: Oct 18, 2020
Today's self-defense systems have a complete ecosystem of skills, derived from reality and designed to counter-violence. Unlike martial arts or combat sports, there are no points, boundaries, rules, or reciprocal exchanging of blows; the physical action is completely one-sided. It has a single-minded objective to stop the opponent's attack.
Combat sports create great champions of astonishing physical abilities. The events are high-level chess matches between masters. They are today's gladiators that possess amazing skills in Brazillian jujitsu, Thai boxing, and Wrestling techniques.
What these elite athletes do is in a controlled environment. Participants are abiding by rules, points are scored, fighters are automatically separated between rounds. There are no arrests or police involvement at the end and no one is in your corner.
Points, submissions, or knockouts dictate a winner and a loser, but this is not a life-or-death conflict. Real fights unfold quickly and offer no preparation time. Violent events overload the mind with information and require split-second judgments to survive. While under mental duress there's a need for multitasking, such as;
Watching for other attackers
Checking for weapons
Defending against a weapon
Deploying your own weapon
Communicating with others
The same is true in martial arts. Governments and companies have demilitarized martial arts over the last 100 years typically after wars. Many of today's styles have been packaged and remarked as a friendlier version of themselves.
Studying martial arts has a lot to offer. If your goal is to study for fitness and recreational activity, martial arts are an excellent choice. If competition is your thing, then most martial arts systems can offer you that aspect. Many martial arts give you a framework on which to build your skills. People learn;
Correct body mechanics
Speed and power
Coordination and timing
Discipline; and self-confidence
Many schools also promote self-defense benefits. Street violence occurs far from civilized setting so difficulties begin to emerge when practitioners that have no experience with real violence find themselves in a real violent conflict for the first time.
Students of martial arts try and use the self-defense skills, away from the dojo setting. Practitioners find that what they learned doesn’t work in the harsh, unforgiving realities of the street. Street opponents don't play by the rules or stay in the boundaries of martial arts systems.
On the flip side maybe violence is unneeded or uncalled for. If all your training is centered around the use of force skillset you run into the all you have is a hammer everything you see becomes a nail phenomenon. Modern Self-defense is a collection of 10+ skill sets.
The truth delta between the street and the dojo is simply too enormous.
That’s not to say that martial arts are garbage and don't work. They can, have, and will work—just not without first having been adapted to the conditions of the urban setting.
Chances are people that have not been in a real violent confrontation before, have never experienced the adrenal stress that the body undergoes.
Most martial arts are 99% technique and are skill-based, there is a little chance that the adrenal stress part of the equation will have been discussed or trained on through scenario or SIT stress inoculation training.
Much of the martial art world trains in a single-dimensional, meaning all grappling or all striking. Attackers will meet you at their best and at your worst. Some train with little or no thought to multiple attackers or possibilities of weapons.
You don't have to be the best at all, but you must understand each.
The Unpredictable and Noncompliant Street Attacker
The skills developed were intended to be used against a practitioner within the same martial arts system. Grappler puts a street attacker in a triangle and the attacker bites his groin. They give little thought or adaptation for use against an unpredictable and noncompliant street attacker.
Attitude, Intention, and Willingness
Combatants must have a going home mindset. It is the attitude and emotion that no matter what, you are going home to your family tonight. Its indignant rage to harm another individual and do whatever it takes to win.
What Makes a Self Defense System Effective?
You will see how a modern self-defense curriculum differs from martial arts. Here are some elements of a good system.
Situational awareness training- Teach skills to avoid confrontations, and predict threats.
Training and discussion on the pre-emptive attack scenarios.
Use of force skills that utilize gross motor movements and strikes that form a continuous attack that functions under the stress of disorientation, confusion, and fear.
Use of nonaggressive, everyday body positions from which you can control space and attack quickly.
Development of a go-home mindset and willingness to do whatever it takes to win.
Anaerobic and task-oriented conditional training that improves recall reduces brain fade during duress.
Understanding of adrenal stress and operational performance under stress
Conversations about the legal and moral use of force.
Emphasis on heavy impact and contact to train muscle memory
Ground fighting techniques that are integrated with gutterfighting tactics.
Weapons and improvised weapons training
Regular simulation and scenario stress training- using protective equipment and realistic roleplaying
Compressed Use of Force Skillset
The library of fighting techniques and moves is vast and always expanding. The reality is under duress of violence the adrenal stress process cripples some of our fine motor skills and recall abilities.
The old adage its better to learn 1 move that practice 100 times than 1000 move preact 1 time. To price this theory watch videos of real street violence and what you will find is basic gross motor movements. Even in the UFC, astoundingly three moves comprise 70% of all submissions.
The new framework allows the average person to learn effective self-defense skills in a relatively short time, depending on the individual’s ability to learn. The use of force skills is intended to be easy to learn, functional, and retainable under the effects of fear, and fog of war. Movements are simple gross motor skills learned during repetition to a point of unconscious competence.
Individuals without any past martial arts training or knowledge of violence can still become functional in the use of force skills a little time.
Individuals who come with past martial arts or combat sports experience and already have a good basis from which to strengthen. The learning curve will be much shorter.
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